THE WORK OF PUBLISHING

How does it begin? Seems simple on the face of it. Meet a publisher or agent at a conference, get their card, and snail mail a copy of your manuscript or send a manuscript file as an attachment. Seems simple enough, right? And in some rare cases, and I do mean rare, it might work. On a good day, your contact might not have one hindred- or more – submissions on the desk, read your carefully typed and edited -I hope- and jump up to say, “This is it! The story I’ve been waiting for!”

This is a great dream, and may work in very rare cases. But what I soon discovered (for me and everyone has her own journey) as I completed the first draft of my young adult 80,000 word novel, it would take work, and I mean a lot of work to delve into the world of publication. First, I had to do a lot of research. And I had to find out what a query looked like. I was helped in those steps by a couple of people. First, my good friend Val, suggested I contact Shannon A. Thonpson on Messenger. I’ve been talking with Val for years, but had no idea he knew so much about publishing. Which alerted me to an important piece of info, research through people you know. Throw the idea out there and see what comes back.

I contacted Shannon and she messaged me. In case you don’t know, she is an accomplished author, having written the successful Bad Bloods series. and other YA novels. She sent a couple of valuable links to me about finding an agent and writing a query letter – the latter article I lived by in the process that followed. She is a terrific person, and if you go to her website, sign up for her newsletter. Fun, informative articles. BTW, a great one in July about how to query.

The research had just begun. I found lists of agents and publishers easily enough, but the next step is to survey the genre, characters, themes each may be looking for. Once I narrowed a list down, I took notes on each publisher or agents submission policy. I read more than once, follow the submission policy, and they make it clear: in the world of publishing, if you don’t, they will toss your precious piece of work.

Which leads to writing a query letter. Imagine taking a 300 page novel and writing a one sentence hook, a less than 200 word synopsis, and adding in whatever other details are requested, all in less than 400 words. If you can keep it at 300, great! Understand that, the recipient will usually just look at the hook, the one sentence descriptive, and decide whether or not to keep reading, asking that big time question, “Do I care about this? Will it sell? Why would I read this?” The hook is exactly that, hook, grab, coerce, beg, plead, shock, goad, -whatever – to interest the individual enough to read my synopsis and then to read my first 20 pages, if it was even requested in the submission guidelines. And, oh! make sure you don’t send in an attachment unless… that’s a whole topic. I had to learn a lot about copying and not just pasting. I’m not kidding. Everyone is nervous about opening attachments now.

If you’ve read this far, fill out my contact info on my home page (if you haven’t done so) or contact blurb at bottom right of this page, and I will send you my first query letter, which is pretty good I think. As an attachment of course!

AN AUTHOR’S PLATFORM

It’s another beautiful day here in New Orleans. October brings with it sunny, mild weather and I’m really looking forward to getting outside for a walk. But before I do, I want to write about my PLATFORM. As I began writing my novel, I also checked around with other writers on websites and YouTube. As I did, I read about the importance of creating a platform. The advice out there was to get it going about a year before publishing your work. That seemed premature to say the least. What would I write about on a website? What would I post on Facebook? What could I possibly contribute on Twitter? You get the idea. Looking back, I understand the advice I was getting. First, it takes a while to get all of the media in place. Second, you hope to get a following to help when your work is published. Third, it helps me to establish my own interest in what I’m trying to accomplish. Namely, to write and publish a work of fiction that others will want to read. Creating a platform to generate interest is a wonderful opportunity, and isn’t it great that we have the technology to do it? I’m still working at it. As you can see, I have links on my homepage to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. It takes work – and fun- to check your media and not only share what you’re doing, but to also follow writers, agents, publishers, friends, etc. My advice is to grab someone who understands what you’re trying to do to help in the creation of your platform. I’m fortunate my daughter in law, Elisa, is an excellent media strategist and librarian. She helped with my website, and, believe me, I couldn’t have done it without her. Next, I’m going to take one of my young friends, someone under twenty- five, for coffee to help me work on my new Facebook page and Instagram. I also belong to a newly formed marketing group with members willing to help each other. Teamwork, right! I wish you luck if you’re just beginning the journey in writing, publishing, marketing, wherever you are.. Have fun! Let us know how you’re doing.

New Orleans Proud

Greetings to all on a beautiful Monday in New Orleans. So I’ll start with the ‘city that care forgot’ today. I am expecting some out of town guests later this fall who have only been to this wonderful place for two days, and of course, they visited the French Quarter when they weren’t in conferences. Good choice but so much more to enjoy. Day or night, one of the most magivcal things to do is a streetcar ride. And it is a must to ride the St. Charles Avenue line. Always a winner. You will be riding the oldest continuously running streetcar in the entire world. It was made an historical landmark in 1973, and you will see so much history on St. Charles. Mansions sit quietly in full view as you look out your window and enjoy the beautiful oak tree canopy, shading the street and pedestrians who stroll leisurely on narrow sidewalks. During the 1960’s arguments surfaced about the need to abandon the system, especially in the downtown area, to allow for more automobile traffic. But New Orleanians never wavered in their loyalty. So much so, that in 2004 another streetcar line started rumbling on its way connecting The North Carollton Avenue, Mid City area with downtown New Orleans. You can jump on the car pictured below and ride all the way to Canal Street, the Mississippi River, The French Quarter and more. The street car ride is truly an experience to remember.

New Orleans Proud

A LOUISIANA AUTHOR

This is my brand for me new website. Why Louisiana and not just New Orleans? The city where delicious food and jazzy music abound is exciting and mysterious. There is even more to the state, and as I’ve discovered, so much to write about. There are the Acadiana parishes around Lafayette, small Cajun towns along Bayou Lafourche, historic Natchitoches on the Cane River, and more. That’s one of the reasons I decided to choose Ruston in North Louisiana as my setting for my first novel. Different from other parts of the state, Ruston has beautiful rolling hills and boasts the famous peaches sold throughout the South. My main character in my premiere novel meets her romantic interest while riding horseback in the family orchard. More to follow on that one. So come with me as I blog about the progress on my novel and publication in the near future. All by A LOUISIANA AUTHOR! Let’s talk!